This blog is about the planning, preparation, and gear for Off the Grid Across the USA. It’s sort of the behind the scenes of the big adventure and designed to be a tool for anyone who wants to do a similar adventure. Because of the off the grid rules I set for this adventure, it took many hours of planning and preparation. I would guess that I put well over 100 hours of work before leaving. That was in a pretty short period of time too, as I didn’t commit to the adventure until early 2013, just a few months before I embarked on April 20th.
On September 13th, 2015, I embarked on one of my wildest adventures yet. I left my house with the clothes on my body and a medium sized backpack with very basic gear knowing I wouldn’t be home for at least two and a half months. I had some food in my bag and $40 in my pocket as well but those would only serve me for the next 18 hours.
I was headed to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, a city and a country that I had never stepped foot in before. I had somewhat of a plan, to travel from Brazil to Panama but I didn’t know how I was going to manage it. That’s over 7,000 miles clear across the continent of South America through the vastly diverse countries of Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and ultimately Panama. I sort of knew what awaited me but to be honest I really just wanted to get lost along the way. Scorching jungles, freezing mountains, blazing deserts, some of the harshest places on Earth sat between myself and my destination. I had 72 days to do all of this and enjoy it.
I’ve been downsizing my life for more than 5 years and it’s been a very transitional process. For awhile, I went back and forth between getting rid of stuff and accumulating more stuff, but for at least the last 4 years I’ve been pretty much on the path of decreasing the amount of stuff that I have. Many times I would go through everything in my house and get rid of all the stuff I wasn’t using. My criteria would typically be if I hadn’t used something in 6 months or a year then I’d find a better home for it. A lot of the time that would result in me getting rid of as much as half of my stuff!
I receive a lot of messages from students and parents who tell me they are bothered by how much food their school is wasting. Many of them feel like there is nothing that they can do about it. The really good news is that there is so much that can be done to end food waste at your school! Hundreds or thousands of schools have implemented programs to reduce food waste and put the extra food to good use. To help you end food waste at your school I’ve had the Executive Director of write this guest blog. I’m confident that he can provide the help and the resources for you to get things going at your school. And for those of you attending university you can start a Food Recovery Network or Campus Kitchens Project chapter on your campus!
If you’ve paid any attention to my work over the last years, have a Facebook account or pay any attention to media then you probably know that we’ve got a serious problem of food waste in the United States and around the world. I’ve dived into 1,000’s of dumpsters across the United States to show just how much perfectly good food is going to waste. My TEDx talk will catch you up on the issue from how much we’re wasting, to why it matters, and the solutions.
I’ve cycled across the USA twice now in the summers of 2013 and 2014, and I can say without a doubt that cycling across the country is absolutely one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling ways that I’ve ever spent my time. I really encourage anyone who’s interested and excited for a long bike trip to go for it. To help out, I’ve written this gear list for The Goodfluence Tour, which was my second bike ride across the United States.
At the age of 29, I now own fewer possessions than I’ve ever owned in my entire life. After years of downsizing I have achieved one of my long-sought-after goals of being able to fit everything I own into a backpack that fits comfortably on my back. It has been a long road of transition making continual progress little by little.
As many of you know I recently left The Teeny Greeny after living there for one year. I auctioned it off to raise money for tiny homes for people with no homes and raised enough to build ten tiny houses. That project is in the works now by friends in San Diego. Upon selling my home I got rid of a vast majority of my possessions and now own just over 100 possessions. I am carrying literally everything that I own on my back. I’ve been working for many years on simplifying my life and this is truly a milestone for me. I’ve found that generally the fewer possessions that I own the happier and more free of a human being that I am. At the same time, the more simply I live the more I am able to dedicate myself to the service of other people, animals, and the earth. Before moving to The Teeny Greeny I became 100% debt and bill free and I’ve maintained that to this date and intend to continue on in this fashion. I am now vastly free of material possessions, a set location, and financial ties. These accomplishments have made way for me to pursue one of my ultimate dreams of living a life that is deeply in the service of others.